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Worker severely injured after falling into burial crypt settles compensation claim out of court

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Media Release

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A Victorian father severely injured when he fell into a burial vault has received a substantial six-figure settlement.

Les Claydon, 43, was working as a yardman for Seymour-based Taylex Sales Pty Ltd in April 2009 when he fell 2.3m into the burial vault, landing heavily on both knees.

Mr Claydon shattered his left knee and also suffered a penetrating injury to his right knee and doctors have said his injuries will require lifelong care.

Slater and Gordon workcover lawyer Geoff Smith said, despite his injuries, Mr Claydon had bravely returned to work.

“This is a man who, despite his injuries, has battled on in order to provide for his young family,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Claydon was preparing to bring a common law damages claim alleging Taylex was negligent and failed to provide a safe workplace when the parties reached a settlement agreement out of court earlier this month.

Following the accident, Worksafe conducted an investigation into the company and issued an improvement notice, citing contraventions of the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2004.

The accident occurred when Mr Claydon was climbing into the crypt. Under the system of work used by Taylex, Mr Claydon was required to climb the external wall using a ladder and, while balanced on a narrow concrete ledge at the top of the crypt, pull the ladder up behind him to use while climbing down the other side.

 “The employer could have easily prevented this fall, but they failed to implement any of the safety options available to them,” Mr Smith said.

“People like Les, who want nothing more than to provide for their family, should be able to go to work without the fear of suffering serious injury.”

Following the accident, Mr Claydon underwent internal fixation and bone graft surgery, and he is likely to require at least one knee replacement surgery.

“Prior to the accident, Les enjoyed a very active lifestyle and as a result of his injuries he has had to step away from many of the activities that he loved,” Mr Smith said.